LONDON Dec 6 In a change of tack, Britain's
healthcare cost watchdog NICE has recommended the use of
Bristol-Myers Squibb's rheumatoid arthritis drug Orencia
by the state health service following a price discount.
The move is the latest example of drugmakers having to cut
deals with health authorities in Europe in order to ensure their
medicines are used, even after they have been approved as safe
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence
(NICE) said on Thursday it now supported giving the biotech drug
to patients whose disease had not responded adequately to
conventional non-biological medicines.
Previously, NICE only backed the use of Orencia if patients
fail to respond adequately to one of a class of biological
therapies known as tumour necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors.
Orencia costs around 12,000 pounds ($19,000) per patient a
year but NICE said Bristol had offered a discount to this list
price, the size of which has not been disclosed.